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CHAPTER - 5

T9 PLANNING OF SOUND REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM


A sound reinforcement system is governed mainly by the following factors: i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) Size Type Location Audience to be covered Type of sound to be reproduced Desired psychological reaction on audience.

For the above purpose, a job analysis should be undertaken to cover the following: a) Indoor Installations:1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) Size of auditorium Area to be covered Dimensions Approximate size of audience Actual volume of the auditorium in cft. Reverberation time, if known Seating Capacity Type and distribution of absorbing materials. Location of source of pick up. Desired position of microphone Desired position of loudspeaker Ambient noise level. Type of service. i) ii) iii) iv) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) b) Voice or music reinforcement. Remote pick up Orchestra Point Source illusion.

Frequency characteristics of microphone or pick up. Amplifier Available Audio Power. Desired Coverage Permissible Cost.

Outdoor Installations:1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Area to be covered, in sq. ft. Dimensions Approximate size of audience Desired location of microphone Desired location of loudspeaker. Ambient noise level.

7) 8)

Loudest noise which the system should over-ride. Type of Service. i) Voice or music reinforcement ii) Remote pick up. iii) Orchestra iv) Point Source Illusion. Frequency Characteristics of Microphone Amplifier Audio power available Desired coverage Permissible Cost.

9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

The total sound arriving at any one point in an auditorium consists of the original sound and successive reflected sounds at very short intervals, causing "reverberation". This effect is necessary to a small extent to improve intelligibility. The reverberation time is calculated from the formula:reverberation time in sec. = 0.05 x volume in cft. Total absorption The following table gives the acceptable limits :Room Volume in cubic feet. 10,000 25,000 50,000 100,000 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 Acceptable Limits in Seconds Half Audience Full Audience 0.9 - 1.2 1.0 - 1.3 1.2 - 1.5 1.5 - 1.8 1.8 - 2.0 2.0 - 2.3 2.3 - 2.6 2.5 - 2.8 2.6 - 2.9 0.6 - 0.8 0.8 - 1.1 0.9 - 1.3 1.2 - 1.5 1.4 - 1.7 1.7 - 2.0 1.8 - 2.2 1.9 - 2.3 2.1 - 2.5

A common method of dealing with reverberation problems is to use absorbent material to absorb the sound and prevent reflection. Each material is rated by its ability to absorb sound and is expressed as "absorption co-efficient" of the material. The amount of audio power for indoor locations depends upon size, reverberation period, floor plan, noise level to be overcome, nature of sound and efficiency of loudspeaker. An approximate formula is :Acoustic Watts = Vol. in Cu. ft. 105 The efficiency of the loudspeaker should also be introduced in the calculations. For example, in an auditorium of 3 x 105 cft. capacity, the required acoustic watts is 3 watts. Assuming an efficiency of 10% for the loudspeakers, the audio output required will be 30 watts. If a more accurate assessment is required, the monogram shown in Figure 45 may be used.

For outdoor installation, a rough figure is 5 watts per thousand sq. ft. It should be remembered that sound pressure is reduced by 75% or 6 dB, each time the distance is doubled, or in other words to obtain the same sound level as obtained by a 10 watt speaker at 100 ft. for a distance of 1000 ft., 1000 watts will be required. A typical auditorium of dimensions, shown in the Figure 46 A & B, will now be considered. The acoustic watt is computed as follows:Acoustic Watts = 100 x 50 x 40 10 -5 = 2 Watts

Assuming a reverberation period of 1 Sec., and loudspeaker efficiency of 10% output of amplifier should be 20 watts. Directional baffle type loudspeakers are employed to eliminate feedback. The horns are tilted as shown because:i) Front rows do not require amplified sound ii) Direct projection from loudspeaker to front row will render listening uncomfortable. iii) Feed-back will otherwise be increased. iv) Sound level will otherwise be less at the remote end. A cabinet type may be provided in front row for reproduction of recorded programme. The purpose of mixer unit is to exercise remote control from the distant observation point, from where the observer will have a clear idea of the sound level. The arrangement in the case of a revervberent half i.e., with reverberation time exceeding 1 1/2 seconds is shown in Fig. A number of cabinet speakers at low levels are installed as shown. The angle of distribution should be wider. For a typical cinema installation, two sets of speakers are provided, one for the film reproduction and another for reproduction from microphone from stage. For a outdoor installation, suitable for a crowd of 5000 people in quite surrounding with two projector type loudspeakers and a 20 watt amplifier is quite sufficient for speech. For musical reproduction, 4 loudspeakers with 40 watt amplifier will be required. For a P.A. System arrangement in a playground or stadium. Loudspeakers may be projector or directional baffle, with 5 watts input into each loudspeaker. The distance between each set of speakers should be 200 ft. or less. The announcer should be provided with a noise proof enclosure in such cases with a window from which the announcer can command a view of the activities. This prevents feedback.

SPECIAL SOUND REINFORCEMENT SYSTEMS. Reproduction of sound is classified into two main categories, as per British Standard Coded of Practice (CP/327.300) i) ii) 'A' quality 'B' quality

'A' quality results are those not readily distinguishable as regards quality from original. This necessitates planning of the acoustics of the auditorium also. These are recommended for:a) b) c) d) Schools and other educational establishments Theatres and Cinemas Places of worship Certain Halls and Assembly Rooms.

'B' quality results are less realistic, but are adequate where fidelity is not a primary consideration, but intelligibility is the important criterion. These are recommended for:a) b) c) d) e) f) g) Offices and departmental stores Hotels and Clubs. Hospitals and Hostels. Factories and Workshops Railway Stations. Railway Marshalling Yards Railway Trains.

The basic functions of a sound reproducing system are:i) Reproduction of speech, music or stage performance ii) Staff location paging iii) Radio Broadcasting iv) Wire " v) Gramophone reproduction vi) Sound Film reproduction vii) Reproduction of audio signals. The type of service required varies according to the location as follows:LOCATION Schools Cinema Places of worship Factories Hotels Hospitals Rly. Stations. Rly. Marshalling Yards. Parks Trains SERVICE i, iii, v, vi, vii i, v, vi i, v i, v, vii i, ii, iii, v iii i, v i, ii iv iii, vi.

The range of frequencies to be covered for 'A' quality is 50 to 7000 Hz and 'B' quality is 100 to 4000 Hz. Another classification based on type of service is :Speech Music High Fidelity = 500 - 5000 Hz. = 100 - 8000 " = 40 -15000 "

Some special types of sound reinforcement systems other than the conventional public address system are: i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) vii) Power Megaphone Paging System Centralised Sound redistribution system Intercommunications System Integrated Sound system Train entertainment system Portable P.A. System.

A typical example is the power megaphone. It is used where human voice has to be reinforced, and portability is required. Typical applications are in fire fighting, marine services and in crowd control. It consists of a sensitive carbon microphone, an efficient horn type speaker, a battery made up of flash light cells, the entire unit combined in a trigger operated assembly resembling a megaphone. A typical commercial unit is illustrated in the attached Figure 47. The sound will be heard at a distance of 400 yards, and if the equipment is used on the average, 10 seconds every minute, the life of the cell is 6 months. The latest versions use moving coil microphones, transistorised amplifiers and incorporate printed circuitry.

Fig. 47 Trans Hailer

Paging may be described as a process by which a speaker's voice is transmitted to several loudspeakers simultaneously or selectively. Its applications are diverse. In a big factory, a telephone operator or paging operator can quickly locate personnel in a selected area. By combination of special coded signals and verbal announcements, the system may be adopted for fire, damage or accident control in such locations. The system may also be used for broadcasting time signals at selected intervals. In workshops, planned music programme may be given at periodic intervals during the work period. In Railway Stations, announcements regarding arrivals and departures may be made at desired locations from a central location. In Marshalling Yards, the Yard Master can locate any of the Yard Staff. A paging arrangement with simultaneous calling features is shown in Fig.48A, and selective selection features in Fig.48 B. SOUND REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM FOR RAILWAYS Intercommunication systems or talk back systems employ loudspeakers both as microphone and reproducer. Two way communication is employed on a simplex basis. The arrangement in Fig. B, permits conversation with remote speakers. In certain types, several master units as shown in Fig. C. are employed. In yards, horn type speakers are used for talk-back. Fig. 49 Inter-communication systems

The requirements of a loudspeaker for taking out and as a microphone for talking back are mutually conflicting. For talk-back, the loudspeaker as a microphone should not pickup all the extraneous noise. The pick up of noise is reduced by reducing the bandwidth and sharpening

the directivity. The loudspeaker should be designed for narrow bandwidth. Since is either, in the low or high end of the voice spectrum. The increase in power efficiency between a narrow band system and a wide band system is inversely proportional to the square of the ratio of the bandwidth, other conditions being equal. The average response of an ordinary loudspeaker is shown in Fig 50. A. Curve 1 shows the response as a reproducer and curve 2, the response as a microphone. By providing equalisers, the talk out response can be corrected as in curve 12, and talk back as in curve 2a. The main feature is that frequencies below 2000 Hz are attenuated by the equalisers. Fig.50B shows the directivity pattern of a typical talk back loudspeaker. A desirable system for talk back circuits would be one with equalisers for both paths talk out and talk back.

Fig. 50 Requirements of Talk Back Loud speaker In regard to the frequency characteristics of amplifiers for railway applications, the main criterion should be intelligibility rather than fidelity, and in talk back speaker circuits this is of special important. From the curve in Fig. A it will be clear that frequencies below 400 Hz are unimportant, as far as articulation is concerned. A reduction in bandwidth to 800-3500 Hz will reduce the articulation efficiency by 10% only. Olson and Massa have shown that degradation of fidelity becomes less as the higher frequencies are cut off. With a high frequency cut off at 5000Hz, an harmonic content of 25% can be tolerated. Figure B shows the degree of permissible distortion at various levels. Cutting out low frequencies also reduce distortion. If the cut off frequency is lowered, more and more harmonics fall within the band. We get and fletcher found maximum sensitivity of ear near 3000Hz speech power in voice drops off from 1000Hz as frequency rises. Voice consonants with least power are in the 3000-5000Hz regions. For efficient articulation, the proper choice would, therefore, be to restrict the bandwidth from 400 Hz to 3500 Hz with a rise till 3000 Hz at the rate of 6-10 dB per octave. Another special system for Railways is the station announcing equipment. It consists of an announcing booth at a convenient location (preferably the Station Master's Office or cabin from where the information regarding train movements could be obtained rapidly). With a network of loudspeakers at the different locations. The cavernous structures of station normally present serious echo problems and also excessive reverberation time. Acoustical treatment is an extremely costly proposition so that considerable ingenuity has to be exercised in locating the loudspeakers. The location may be broadly divided into:

i) iii)

Platforms Waiting Rooms

ii) iv)

Circulating area Restaurants.

The distribution lines are divided into converting groups according to the above classification. The amplifier as well as microphone should be duplicated for maintaining continuous operation. Horn type reflex or bi-directional has to be used for (i) and (ii), and cabinet types for (iii) and (iv) individual volume controls have to be provided for cabinet type speakers. The arrangement of a typical layout is shown in the Figure 51.

Fig. 51 Typical layout of a station announcing system The announcing booth should be noise proof and acoustically treated, with a glass window or windows on sides to have a commanding view of the Station Yard, if so situated. A typical layout is shown in the Fig 52. The details of the announcing table are shown in the sketch 53. The control panel consists of switches for connecting the different distribution lines with a volume level indicator and pilot lamp indication in the centre. Mains and standby switches for the amplifiers and "Transpose" switches for rapid changeover from one amplifier to another are also provided. A record player or tape recorder is provided in one deck, and the amplifiers are housed in the double deck on one side. Wind netting is provided for ventilation.

The detailed wiring diagram of the panel is shown in the attached diagram 54. The circuit provides for. i) ii) iii) Switching on/off, independently each circuit. Switching on/off, mains or standby of each amplifier. Monitor Output Level.

Telephone Key Switches are used. The distribution of loudspeakers in a platform is shown in the sketch. Fig.55A shows a typical bidirectional speaker. Fig.55B shows the spacing of speakers.

FIG. 55 Directional Speaker In circulating areas, radial reflex projectors are used. Fig 56.A and B shows the details of a typical unit.

Fig. 56 Radial Reflex Projector Cabinet type speakers should have sloping fronts as shown. The details are shown in the Fig 57A. A volume control may be incorporated at a convenient height as shown in Fig.57.B.

Fig. 57 Installation of cabinet type speaker P.A. Systems are also installed in trains. These consist of two basic systems: (See Figures 58.A & B). i) ii) Low Level System. High Level System.

Fig. 58 Train Entertainment System In type (i), each coach has its own amplifier, and in (ii) the main amplifier is on the dining car and high voltage distribution line (100V) is taken to each coach. For this arrangement, the entire rake

of carriages have to be wired internally and fitted with external coupling units, so that if the formation is distributed or a new coach introduced in between these coaches the wiring will get disconnected. Hence, in some cases, the arrangement is restricted to the dining car only. British Railways have evolved methods of loudspeaker announcements for intercity expresses, of which a desired type is to be chosen according to the passenger reactions of the particular route. The three methods are: i) Live voice announcements by the guard i.e., manual system. ii) Pre-recorded announcements operated by the guard i.e., semi automatic system. iii) Pre-recorded announcements operated automatically during the progress of the train i.e., automatic system. The announcements will be a welcome to the passengers, when the train departs and details of its scheduled arrival and calling points. The location of refreshment car is also announced with details of sittings for means and service of light refreshments. Warnings of the approach to the next stop are also broadcast, well in advance, for travelling to pack up their belongings and be ready to alight when the train arrives. Short intermissions of background music are also transmitted. In the automatic system, pre-recorded announcements are initiated at appropriate points in the journey by special devices, which measures accurately the distance travelled. The carriage lighting circuits are used for transmission of the audio signals.